Mob Beats Up Imam Near Police Station. Cops Arrest the Imam, Not the Attackers

In Chhattisgarh's Tilda Newra, an Imam was beaten by a mob near a police station for allegedly hurting sentiments.

5 min read
Hindi Female

On 24 January, Maulana Asghar Ali started his day like usual. He left his home, in Sinodha village, Tilda Newra, about 50 kms from Chhattisgarh's capital Raipur, for the local village Madrasa (Islamic school) where he had been teaching for about two years. There, he revised some material with a batch of students, and returned home by afternoon for lunch. His plan after lunch would have been to go the mosque, adjacent to the Madrasa, where he is the Imam (prayer leader).

Just as he sat down on the dining table, a group of men— Ali says several hundred —came knocking at his door. “They told me I have to come to the police station with them. But there wasn’t a single police officer with them, so I refused,” Ali says. But the adamant mob pulled Ali out of his home and shoved him into their jeep.

Ali had no clue where the mob was taking him or why. “At first, I thought it’s a kidnapping, but just about a few kilometers later, they stopped the car near the Tilda Newra police station. I felt now at least I am near the police station so they can’t physically harm me,” Ali recalls thinking. In a matter of a few minutes, Ali would be proven wrong.


The mob pulled Ali out of the car, and began beating him—some with bare hands and some with slippers and belts. As they beat him, they yelled slogans of ‘Hindustan Mein Rehna Hoga Toh Jai Shri Ram Kehna Hoga’, translating to: ‘If you want to live in India, you will have to chant Jai Shri Ram’. “All of this happened just in front of the police station, but no one intervened to stop the mob,” says Ali. The video of a bloodied Ali being taken inside the police station by the sloganeering mob has subsequently gone viral on social media.

After Ali was taken into the police station, he was told a complaint had been filed against him and he was being placed under arrest. “I thought the police would save me from the beating mob, instead they arrested me,” says Ali. It wasn’t till much later that he learnt what he was being jailed for.

In Chhattisgarh's Tilda Newra, an Imam was beaten by a mob near a police station for allegedly hurting sentiments.

Mob taking Ali to the Tilda Newra police station.


WhatsApp Status By Former Student

Two days prior to Ali being beaten, the Ram Temple was inaugurated in Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya. Multiple incidents of vandalism, violence and skirmishes have been reported from several parts of the country on that day.

In Ali’s Sinodha village, a 14-year-old boy put up a WhatsApp status on 23rd, a day after the temple consecration ceremony. The 14-year-old had previously been a student at Ali’s Madrasa. The WhatsApp status was an image of the Babri Mosque, which was demolished in 1992, and in place of which the Ram Temple has been built. Under the image, it read: ‘Sabar jab waqt hamara aayega, Tab sir dhar se alag kiye jayenge’ (sic). ‘Keep patience. When our time will come, heads will be chopped off from bodies’.


Screenshots of the evidently inflammatory status posted by the 14-year-old began circulating among the village folk.

In a complaint filed by some members of the Hindu community in the TIlda Newra police station, accessed by The Quint, it is stated that in the last few years “some Muslims have come from outside and resided illegally in Sinodha village and have been instigating against the Hindu society and hurting sentiments.” The complaint says that such teachings have further been propagated “via the Instagram posts of the children of their Muslim brethren.” It also says that “senior citizens of the village tried to explain this but they began abusing and threatening to kill. These people are trying to instigate riots due to which there is anger among villagers and Hindu society.”

FIR and Arrest of The Imam and 3 Others

Along with Ali, two other members of the mosque committee, named in the complaint, Tahir Khan and Ibrahim Khan were also arrested by the Tilda Newra police. The 14-year-old who put up the WhatsApp status was sent to juvenile jail. All four of them got out on bail on 30th January — after 6 days in prison.

The Tilda Newra police SHO Mukesh Sharma tells The Quint that Ali and the three others were arrested under IPC sections 295A (deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups).

The allegation against Ali and the two other members of the mosque committee was that they imparted teachings that led to the 14-year-old putting up such a status. “That student stopped coming to me 1.5 years ago. So, I have not interacted with him recently at all. And in any case, I have no control over what someone else is posting. And if you still think I am at fault, let the police do its job, why beat me? This isn’t fair,” says Ali.

The other two who were arrested also deny any connection with the WhatsApp status. “I am just a member of the masjid committee. I don’t teach the children,” says Ibrahim Khan. “Police officers showed up at my workplace and took me with them saying they are providing me protection. But once we reached the station, they arrested me,” he adds.

Tahir Khan also says he didn’t have a clue about the post or why he is being arrested. “We were arrested deceitfully. I still don’t know what IPC sections I was arrested under,” he says.

No Arrest Of The Violent Mob

The police also registered a separate FIR against “unknown individuals”-- those who beat up Ali in front of the police station. That FIR has been registered under IPC 506 (criminal intimidation) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt).

There have been no arrests in this case so far, despite there being a viral video of the mob bringing Ali to the police station.

“None of the people who beat up Ali have been identified yet. We are investigating but no names or faces have been identified so far,” SHO Sharma tells The Quint.

In Chhattisgarh's Tilda Newra, an Imam was beaten by a mob near a police station for allegedly hurting sentiments.

The mob taking Ali to the police station.


Ali says he recognises a few of the men who were part of the mob, as they are locals from the village.

'Not One Person Tried To Stop The Mob From Beating Me': Imam

Speaking to The Quint a day after coming out from jail, Ali says he is shaken by what transpired. “I was taken from my home and beaten in front of the police station for no fault of mine, and not a single person did anything to stop the mob. I feel humiliated,” says Ali.

Ali still has wounds from the beating, and will now see a doctor for treatment.

When the mob took Ali from his residence, the two people who were left behind at home were Ali’s wife and 5-month-old child. Ali’s wife, Imrana Khatun, says she was terrified for him. “I had no idea where they are taking him. I couldn’t even run behind them because I had to be with my infant child. Later when I saw the video of him bleeding all over his body and being pushed into the police station, I was petrified,” Khatun says.

Ali, who is originally a resident of Jharkhand, says he has been falsely accused of trying to spread ill-will in the village. “I came here four years ago because I was called to be the imam in this mosque and madrasa. I am only doing my job, but there is unnecessary targeting I am facing here. It is very upsetting,” says Ali.

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